Proof that god does not exist

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Proof that god does not exist

My latest blog post presents two proofs. The first proves that the philosopher's god does not exist. That god is defined for the purposes of these proofs as follows:

  • omnipotent
  • ominicient
  • omnibenevolent
  • creator of the universe

Next, I add to the definition of god some characteristics commonly claimed by that Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and I prove that that god does not exist.

These are logical proofs. They could be modified into formal logic, complete with boxes, negation symbols, and the like, but I wanted to make them accessible to a broader audience.

My other post explains why the kinds of evidence commonly cited to support beliefs cannot acutally prove anything about the validity of those beliefs. If anyone wants to discuss that post, they should probably start another thread.


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Proof 1: Your conclusion in

Proof 1:

Your conclusion in point 11 that Phil does not exist is not true.  You've only shown that Phil is not both omnibenevolent and omniscient.

 Proof 2:

Same problem, your conclusion is going a step too far.  You're only showing that Judy  is not omnibenevolent and omniscient.

 Without these two factors in conjunction everything else would still theoretically be possible.  Just because the being would no have those two powers it is not logical to jump to the conclusion that they don't exist. 


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Additionally I would also

Additionally I would also suggest that you're basing your assumption that there is not some ultimate good that can come from suffering and all the other negatives in the world.

So actually your points did not even seperate omnibenevolent and omniscient since we can not venture to guess the end result. 


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jackal

jackal wrote:
  • omnipotent
  • ominicient
  • omnibenevolent
  • creator of the universe

 

I dont like the concepts of a traditional Abrahamic god. I redefine the above words as:

Omnipotent: able to do what is possible

Omniscient: knows what is knowable

Neither of the above are bound by human limits.

Omnibenevolent: Discarded. This is a projection of human ideas. An entity capable of doing all possible things from a base of all that is knowable could decide that humanity is a scourge and that the most benevolent act would be to eliminate us.

Creator of the Universe: If creation of universes is within the scope of the knowable and possible, then yes.

 

note: There may be better words for the above definitions


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By deffinition...

Tarpan wrote:

Proof 1:

Your conclusion in point 11 that Phil does not exist is not true.  You've only shown that Phil is not both omnibenevolent and omniscient.

 Proof 2:

Same problem, your conclusion is going a step too far.  You're only showing that Judy  is not omnibenevolent and omniscient.

I defined the gods, Phil and Judy, that I was going to disprove. I showed that they cannot exist as I defined them (omnipotent, omnicient, omnibenevolent, AND creator of the universe). Thus, I proved they don't exist. I am not trying to prove anything about any other gods, just the two that I defined.


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The scope of my proofs

wavefreak wrote:

I dont like the concepts of a traditional Abrahamic god. I redefine the above words as:

Omnipotent: able to do what is possible

Omniscient: knows what is knowable

Neither of the above are bound by human limits.

Omnibenevolent: Discarded...

Creator of the Universe: If creation of universes is within the scope of the knowable and possible, then yes.

My proofs only apply to the classical definitions of those words. See Monotheistic definitions here. Can you provide a new proof based you your definitions? If so, do share. Laughing


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Which brings me to my

Which brings me to my second post where I you applied your own interpretation of suffering.  Your omnibenevolent god could have a different interpretation.   Perhaps he sees them as good things.

But even with that aside by disproving that the gods can not exist under those strict circumstances does not mean that they do not exist.  It only implies that they don't have those characteristics.  You can not prove that they don't exist.

That's like saying that if you described me wearing a blue shirt, but I was not wearing a blue shirt, that I would not exist.

By your definition of whether those gods exist under your very strict definition, you would be also right to say that I don't exist because I'm not wearing a blue shirt and your description explicitly stated blue shirt.

I appreciate your effort to disprove god, and I think that everything you state was fine right up until your last conclusion which reminds me a lot of the type of argument that theists use to prove god.


wavefreak
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jackal wrote: wavefreak

jackal wrote:
wavefreak wrote:

I dont like the concepts of a traditional Abrahamic god. I redefine the above words as:

Omnipotent: able to do what is possible

Omniscient: knows what is knowable

Neither of the above are bound by human limits.

Omnibenevolent: Discarded...

Creator of the Universe: If creation of universes is within the scope of the knowable and possible, then yes.

My proofs only apply to the classical definitions of those words. See Monotheistic definitions here. Can you provide a new proof based you your definitions? If so, do share. Laughing

 

I'm working on it. I'll get back to you in a few years. Laughing Well, hopefully sooner. My view is that the problem with proofs of god is that there is a blind adherence to absolute definitions and these absolutes create obvious inconsistencies and contradictions. I am working on definitions that will fit better within a logical framework. If I come up with good enough definitions any proof will be first for the possibility of existence, not the certainty.


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Right, so you agree with

Right, so you agree with Jackal then, Tarpan. Jackal is not saying, "No Gods exist." Jackal is saying, "No Gods exist who fit these definitions." That's fine. It's a logical and valid argument.

 If Jackal defined a Tarpan as necessarily wearing a pink bunny suit, then if you're not wearing a pink bunny suit, you are not a Tarpan that Jackal is referring to. Hence, you need not worry about not existing. (You can still be a Tarpan, but NOT a Tarpan as she has defined it. If Tarpans were typically defined as wearing pink bunny suits, though, then your existence would probably be in question... Smiling)

Those definitions (of Gods, not Tarpans), by the way, are not arbitrary. They are what classical philosophers mainly concern themselves with. 

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wavefreak
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WolfgangSenff wrote: Those

WolfgangSenff wrote:

Those definitions (of Gods, not Tarpans), by the way, are not arbitrary. They are what classical philosophers mainly concern themselves with.

Indeed. And so classical philosophers continue to chase their tales. The simple answer then is to scrap the classical definitions. Any coherent definition of a deity must accept what science has told us or prove science is mistaken. I think proving science wrong is Quixotic.


WolfgangSenff
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wavefreak wrote: I'm

wavefreak wrote:

I'm working on it. I'll get back to you in a few years. Laughing Well, hopefully sooner. My view is that the problem with proofs of god is that there is a blind adherence to absolute definitions and these absolutes create obvious inconsistencies and contradictions. I am working on definitions that will fit better within a logical framework. If I come up with good enough definitions any proof will be first for the possibility of existence, not the certainty.

Have you seen the Samuel Thomas Poling vs Dr. Paul Herrick debate hosted here at RRS, wave? It sounds a lot like what you're trying to do. I saw it as Dr. Herrick proving that a God could exist, and that definition of God was so loose and weak that his proof essentially lead to nothing. I'm not suggesting yours will, just that you should watch that in case you fall into any of the same types of pitfalls that he did (basically just redefining everything so that the end result is a proof of nothing that matters).

"Jesus -- the other white Moses" - Me.


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I agree except for one part

I agree except for one part Wolf...

omnibenevolent

By not knowing the end-game or end-reason and by placing our value of this onto it we are potentially wrong.  There is not a set description of what that might mean.

Of course, I'm just playing devil's advocate here, and even though I'm an atheist I still didn't find myself convinced by this argument to disprove god.  It's one that I've heard many times over, and I don't think it can work because it assumes too much about the intentions of the being and the interpretation of what is benevolent. 


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Tarpan wrote: I agree

Tarpan wrote:

I agree except for one part Wolf...

omnibenevolent

By not knowing the end-game or end-reason and by placing our value of this onto it we are potentially wrong. There is not a set description of what that might mean.

Of course, I'm just playing devil's advocate here, and even though I'm an atheist I still didn't find myself convinced by this argument to disprove god. It's one that I've heard many times over, and I don't think it can work because it assumes too much about the intentions of the being and the interpretation of what is benevolent.

You are allowed to disagree with the premises. That doesn't make them false, nor does it make the conclusion invalid or untrue. I know you're playing devil's advocate, and that's a good thing. I think if Jackal wants to take it and turn it into an essay of some kind, it's a good idea to have a lot of arguments against it handled early on.

I guess Jackal's point is simply that if we define the typical philosopher's God the way that it is typically defined, then there is a contradiction and so that God cannot exist.  Jackal's definition of omnibenevolent is certainly not erroneous. We can take it from the definition of benevolent from dictionary.com:

1.characterized by or expressing goodwill or kindly feelings: a benevolent attitude; her benevolent smile.
2.desiring to help others; charitable: gifts from several benevolent alumni.
3.intended for benefits rather than profit: a benevolent institution.

 

Now take that and raise it to an infinitely high power, or something, and you have omnibenevolence. I found it (at least) to be completely reasonable to say, "desiring to help others" is close enough to, "dislikes suffering" that it makes no big difference.  You can't really say, "Suffering could have a positive outcome, we can't know whether or not it does", because we can only know things to the extent that we do anyway. We can only work with what we have, and I think that's all Jackal was doing. Interestingly, omnibenevolent is apparently not a real word, according to said dictionary. It's just a word used in the philosophy of religion, according to the encyclopedia.com entry.

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Tarpan wrote: I agree

Tarpan wrote:

I agree except for one part Wolf...

omnibenevolent

By not knowing the end-game or end-reason and by placing our value of this onto it we are potentially wrong. There is not a set description of what that might mean.

Of course, I'm just playing devil's advocate here, and even though I'm an atheist I still didn't find myself convinced by this argument to disprove god. It's one that I've heard many times over, and I don't think it can work because it assumes too much about the intentions of the being and the interpretation of what is benevolent.

  However wouldn't omnibenevolent mean that at all time you would/could be benevolent.  The end-game doesn't matter for a given moment, an omnimbenevolent being can be all benevolent at any moment, so in any moment of non-benevolence it can no longer be omni.  According to http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Omnibenevolence is wasn't a term used by the Church.  I don't like strawman on other side, anyone have a better source for the term (mind you I didn't search that hard/long)?

Sounds made up...
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benevolence, religious relevance

Magus wrote:

However wouldn't omnibenevolent mean that at all time you would/could be benevolent.  The end-game doesn't matter for a given moment, an omnimbenevolent being can be all benevolent at any moment, so in any moment of non-benevolence it can no longer be omni. 

Good point. Let me add something I discussed in the comments section of the post. I'll agree that some suffering may be beneficial. However, considering the suffering in this wold - the genocide in Darfur, the Holocaust, child slavory, child soldiers - I cannot believe that a god with infinite goodwill and unlimited power would knowingly create a world that would lead to such things. To change my mind, you'll have to show me something that a god like Judy would want that it could not get without genocide-scale suffering. (The bold characteristics are garunteed by the definitions of Phil and Judy.)

Magus wrote:
[Omnibenevolence] wasn't a term used by the Church...

I don't think any of the Judaism-based religions could claim omnibenevolence for their gods when their common scriptures are examined. However, I think a lot of moderate theists believe in something like Phil or Judy.


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wavefreak

wavefreak wrote:
WolfgangSenff wrote:

    Those definitions (of Gods, not Tarpans), by the way, are not arbitrary. They are what classical philosophers mainly concern themselves with.

    Indeed. And so classical philosophers continue to chase their tales. The simple answer then is to scrap the classical definitions. Any coherent definition of a deity must accept what science has told us or prove science is mistaken. I think proving science wrong is Quixotic.


    This sounds a lot like I did before I become an atheist. You are absolutely right in saying that "any coherent definition of a deity must accept what science has told us or prove science is mistaken". Along those lines, I did come up with ideas and hypotheses regarding a God that must work within the rules of science. A lot of these ideas kept me a theist for a very long time, but every time I had an idea, there was one insurmountable problem, a complete lack of any evidence. Eventually I had to water my idea of a God to one that was omniscient, but not fully omnipotent, and that the problems we see were because God had to work inside the rules of science, and this was the best reality possible. I even questioned whether God actually took any interest in the lives of people in this universe (which would have made me a deist). Of course, after watering it down this far, I had to ask whether a God by this definition was even a true God. And I still had philosophical problems with this, for example, if God had to work within science, or didn't take active interest in the daily lives of people in the universe, then why create a universe that lacks any evidence of him, and requires faith instead? Added to this, I began to realize that most of the properties that I attributed to God (timeless, etc.) could easily be attributed to the universe in large, and doing it that why easily dealt with the philosophical issues. So now I was left with two possibilities:

1: A universe with a God that may or may not take any interest in us, and suffers from tons of philosophical problems, or
2: A universe with no God, and simply has similar properties (i.e. timelessness), and no philosophical problems.

    Believe it or not, I still wasn't an atheist by that point, and left myself in the deistic/agnostic category (I really REALLY wanted to hang on to my old beliefs); it took Dawkins’ "The God Delusion" to finally wake me up to reality. And still to this day, sometimes when I read or listen to a theist argument, part of me hopes that they bring a new argument, or something else that will prove the existence of God, but I am always left disappointed. I remember when the RRS had a Muslim on for the first time, and I was really eager to listen to that one because I thought "finally, a chance for new arguments." And of course, it turned out that the person used the exact same arguments that many of the Christians used (all you had to do was change the word God to Allah).


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jackal wrote: I don't

jackal wrote:

I don't think any of the Judaism-based religions could claim omnibenevolence for their gods when their common scriptures are examined. However, I think a lot of moderate theists believe in something like Phil or Judy.

To lend support to this, I am surrounded by "moderate" Christians who believe in exactly Judy. Indeed, it seems like they are more fundies who happen to have changed what the definition of God is as stated in the Bible, and so have come to Judy through "divine inspiration", as it were.

"Jesus -- the other white Moses" - Me.


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WolfgangSenff

WolfgangSenff wrote:
wavefreak wrote:

I'm working on it. I'll get back to you in a few years. Laughing Well, hopefully sooner. My view is that the problem with proofs of god is that there is a blind adherence to absolute definitions and these absolutes create obvious inconsistencies and contradictions. I am working on definitions that will fit better within a logical framework. If I come up with good enough definitions any proof will be first for the possibility of existence, not the certainty.

Have you seen the Samuel Thomas Poling vs Dr. Paul Herrick debate hosted here at RRS, wave? It sounds a lot like what you're trying to do. I saw it as Dr. Herrick proving that a God could exist, and that definition of God was so loose and weak that his proof essentially lead to nothing. I'm not suggesting yours will, just that you should watch that in case you fall into any of the same types of pitfalls that he did (basically just redefining everything so that the end result is a proof of nothing that matters).

 

Haven't looked at that one. The pitfalls that you point out are definately already on my mind. That's one reason I come here. Empty arguments are quickly eviscerated. If I can construct ideas that don't immediatley wither under the crossfire here then I feel I'm on to something. 


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Relevance of the Problem of Evil

The commenter Daggerclaw on the original blog post has been trying to justify the existance of suffering in the world. That line of questioning (commenting) is far from exhaustive, so I took it upon myself to address the usual justifications for evil in this context: suffering in the Phil/Judy universe. Those justifications and my rebuttals are posted here.


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1) Assume Phil

1) Assume Phil exists.

OK

2) An omnibenevolent entity dislikes suffering.

Dislike is too weak. Phil can dislike something and still recognize a necessity for it.

3) There is suffering in this universe.

This is a projection of what humans consider to be suffering. An impala suffers as prey to a lion. But the ecosystem as a whole benefits. This could be a potential source of weakness for your proof.

4) An omnipotent being does not have to do anything it would not want to do.

This implies that an omnipotent being would never do something it dislikes. Hence the need to strengthen number 2

5) From 2 and 3 we have that Phil does not like the suffering in this universe.

OK

6) From 4 we have that Phil did not have to create any universe with suffering.

Did not have to but was Phil not necessarily prevented from doing so.

7) An omniscient entity would know the results of all of its actions before taking them.

8 ) Thus, from 5 and 7, Phil would not want to create this universe.

Here is where it falls apart for me. You are mixing ability and intent. Ph8l is able to ctreat a universe with suffering. You are assuming that because it is distasteful (number 2) that he would never see a compelling need to do so.

9) From 6 and 8, Phil would not create this universe.

Because of the weakness in 2, 8 does not follow and hence 9 does not follow.

10) This universe exists.

OK

11) 9 and 10 form a contradiction. Therefore, our assumption must be wrong. Phil does not exist.

Since 9 does not follow, you cannot make this final claim.

 

For this to work for me you must show that an omnibenevolent Phil would *never* do something he dislikes. Fix this and it holds together better, IMHO.

 


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wavefreak wrote: 1) Assume

wavefreak wrote:

1) Assume Phil exists.

OK

2) An omnibenevolent entity dislikes suffering.

Dislike is too weak. Phil can dislike something and still recognize a necessity for it.

3) There is suffering in this universe.

This is a projection of what humans consider to be suffering. An impala suffers as prey to a lion. But the ecosystem as a whole benefits. This could be a potential source of weakness for your proof.

4) An omnipotent being does not have to do anything it would not want to do.

This implies that an omnipotent being would never do something it dislikes. Hence the need to strengthen number 2

5) From 2 and 3 we have that Phil does not like the suffering in this universe.

OK

6) From 4 we have that Phil did not have to create any universe with suffering.

Did not have to but was Phil not necessarily prevented from doing so.

7) An omniscient entity would know the results of all of its actions before taking them.

8 ) Thus, from 5 and 7, Phil would not want to create this universe.

Here is where it falls apart for me. You are mixing ability and intent. Ph8l is able to ctreat a universe with suffering. You are assuming that because it is distasteful (number 2) that he would never see a compelling need to do so.

9) From 6 and 8, Phil would not create this universe.

Because of the weakness in 2, 8 does not follow and hence 9 does not follow.

10) This universe exists.

OK

11) 9 and 10 form a contradiction. Therefore, our assumption must be wrong. Phil does not exist.

Since 9 does not follow, you cannot make this final claim.

 

For this to work for me you must show that an omnibenevolent Phil would *never* do something he dislikes. Fix this and it holds together better, IMHO.

 

  If Phil allows any suffering to anything it cannot be "Omni" benevolent. It would just be benevolent.  How would you define omnibenevolent that wouldn't be any different than benevolent for phil?

Sounds made up...
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Magus wrote:   If Phil

Magus wrote:

 

If Phil allows any suffering to anything it cannot be "Omni" benevolent. It would just be benevolent. How would you define omnibenevolent that wouldn't be any different than benevolent for phil?

 

Because this a formal proof I have to go with the definition provided. An omnibenevolent entity dislikes suffering.   


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Phil is alone in existance. Nothing compells Phil but Phil.

wavefreak wrote:
Here is where it falls apart for me. You are mixing ability and intent. Ph8l is able to ctreat a universe with suffering. You are assuming that because it is distasteful (number 2) that he would never see a compelling need to do so.

What could possibly compell an all-powerful being to do something it does not want to do? Phil didn't have to create a universe in which things have to die. Phil didn't have to create a universe in which things die in pain. Phil didn't have to create a universe at all. I'm taking a monotheistic standpoint, as is traditional when dealing with Phil. So Phil is the only thing in existance. There is absolutely nothing to compell Phil to do anything other than its own wishes.


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jackal wrote: wavefreak

jackal wrote:

wavefreak wrote:
Here is where it falls apart for me. You are mixing ability and intent. Ph8l is able to ctreat a universe with suffering. You are assuming that because it is distasteful (number 2) that he would never see a compelling need to do so.

What could possibly compell an all-powerful being to do something it does not want to do? Phil didn't have to create a universe in which things have to die. Phil didn't have to create a universe in which things die in pain. Phil didn't have to create a universe at all. I'm taking a monotheistic standpoint, as is traditional when dealing with Phil. So Phil is the only thing in existance. There is absolutely nothing to compell Phil to do anything other than its own wishes.

I completely understand your reasoning. But your choice of language within your proof leaves some holes. You need to strengthen your language, not the underlying logic. Otherwise it can be attacked based on ambiguities in definitions. For example, benevolent means doing good and so omnibenevolent means always doing good. But doing good does NOT mean never allowing suffering. There is some truth to the cliche "what doesn't kill you will make you stronger".

 I'm trying to help you here, not dismantle your proof.


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More ...  "Omnibenevolence

More ... 

"Omnibenevolence is the property of being perfectly good, attributed by some religions to God. The word omnibenevolence may be interpreted to mean perfectly just, all-loving, fully merciful, and so on, depending on precisely what is taken to be good." (definition found online)

 

The important part of this definition is "what is taken to be good".  You are essentially claiming that suffering never leads to good therefore an omnibenevolent entity would never willingly cause suffering. 


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wavefreak wrote: ...You are

wavefreak wrote:
...You are essentially claiming that suffering never leads to good therefore an omnibenevolent entity would never willingly cause suffering.

Actually, the potential for suffering to lead to good is completely irrelevant, as shown here:

Let X be the maximum amount of good that can be created through any and all means. Phil can create X without any suffering because Phil is omnipotent. Being omniscient, Phil knows how to do this. An omnibenevolent being would always maximize good it could create, and it then minimize suffering that it was going to create, since the knowing creation of unnecessary suffering is evil. Therefore, Phil's omnibenevolence compels it to create X without creating any suffering. Furthermore, omnibenevolence would compel Phil in every action to create maximum good and no suffering. By that reasoning, if Phil had created the universe, it would be maximally good and contain no suffering. Since there is suffering, Phil did not create the universe.

By the way, Phil not creating the universe is in direct contradiction with Phil's definition. Therefore, the existence of this universe logically entails that beings with Phil's exact attributes do not exist.


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If a maximally good

If a maximally good universe must contain no suffering then yes, you are correct. It is possible that suffering must exist for maximal good to be acheived. It is only humans that insist that it be absent. This is why I don't adhere to absolutes. A god could be all powerful and all knowing, but as soon as you introduce omnibenevolent it creates a crisis of context. Phil is compelled to maximize good, but for what or whom? Perhaps Phil created humans as feed stock for another life form and we aren't "ripe" yet. So then Phil's concern for our suffering only goes as far as how it effects the quality of the product. I think I am again departing from the classic idea of god, but I've always thought it extraordinarily arrogant for humans to place themselves on the top of the heap when it comes to god's priorities.

 

I also think that to strengthen your proof you should make the compulsion of omnibenevolence to maximize good explicit and include a statement that a maximally good universe contains no suffering.


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Definitions long overdue

I have been reluctant to pin down the exact definitions of “omnibenevolence” and the like because I was afraid that the reader would say, “Ah, but my omnibenevolence is slightly different than yours, so this proof has no bearing on my God!” wavefreak has shown that the reader can do this regardless as to whether I state my definitions, and can furthermore attack my logic if I refuse to do so.

Definitions:

  • Phil - the omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent creator of the universe.
  • Omnipotent - having the power to do anything logically conceivable
  • Omniscient - knowing everything conceivably knowable
  • Omnibenevolent - characterized by perfect and complete goodness, loving and caring for all creatures, abhorring evil actions
  • Suffering - the experience of physical or emotional pain in a creature that can register pain. This is at least human beings, and may include all vertebrates.
  • Evil (noun) - including but not limited to the knowing creation of unnecessary suffering

Let X be the maximum amount of good that can be created through any and all means. Phil can create X without any suffering because Phil is omnipotent.* Being omniscient, Phil knows how to do this. For Phil to create suffering would be unnecessary, and thus evil. Therefore, nothing Phil creates will contain suffering. Since there is suffering in the universe, Phil did not create the universe. That is a contradiction with Phil's definition, so Phil must not exist.

*If you wish to argue that Phil cannot create X without creating suffering, you are saying that Phil is not omnipotent. Perhaps in this universe, certain goods cannot come without suffering, but Phil is not limited by what is possible in this or any universe.


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Does anyone have a response

Does anyone have a response to this? Or does it stand? Smiling


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Tarpan wrote: I agree

Tarpan wrote:

I agree except for one part Wolf...

omnibenevolent

By not knowing the end-game or end-reason and by placing our value of this onto it we are potentially wrong.  There is not a set description of what that might mean.

Of course, I'm just playing devil's advocate here, and even though I'm an atheist I still didn't find myself convinced by this argument to disprove god.  It's one that I've heard many times over, and I don't think it can work because it assumes too much about the intentions of the being and the interpretation of what is benevolent. 

All definitions of benevolent are close to identical. It's not a wishy washy word like faith is.

intending or showing kindness; "a benevolent society"
charitable: showing or motivated by sympathy and understanding and generosity; "was charitable in his opinions of others"; "kindly criticism"; "a kindly act"; "sympathetic words"; "a large-hearted mentor"
generous in providing aid to others
beneficent: generous in assistance to the poor; "a benevolent contributor"; "eleemosynary relief"; "philanthropic contributions"

All of these definitions show an omnibenevolent god with omnipotence and omniscience would be incapable of causing suffering no matter the cause, as their very omnipotence gives them other options other than suffering.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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WolfgangSenff wrote: Does

WolfgangSenff wrote:
Does anyone have a response to this? Or does it stand? Smiling

 

Only quibbles with the defintions. And only because this is being presented as a rigorous proof. 

Definitions:

 

  • Phil - the omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent creator of the universe.
    Phil sounds like quite a guyTongue out
  • Omnipotent - having the power to do anything logically conceivable
    Logically seems like an unintended word.  I can conceive of all types of things that defy logic. God can't do these things?
  • Omniscient - knowing everything conceivably knowable
    Conceivably knowable limits omnicience to what we can conceive as knowable. Isn't "knows everything" sufficient?
  • Omnibenevolent - characterized by perfect and complete goodness, loving and caring for all creatures, abhorring evil actions

  • Suffering - the experience of physical or emotional pain in a creature that can register pain. This is at least human beings, and may include all vertebrates.

  • Evil (noun) - including but not limited to the knowing creation of unnecessary suffering

    "unecessary" leaves open the possibility of necessary suffering.

 

 

 


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jackal wrote: I have been

jackal wrote:

I have been reluctant to pin down the exact definitions of “omnibenevolence” and the like because I was afraid that the reader would say, “Ah, but my omnibenevolence is slightly different than yours, so this proof has no bearing on my God!” wavefreak has shown that the reader can do this regardless as to whether I state my definitions, and can furthermore attack my logic if I refuse to do so.

Definitions:

  • Phil - the omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent creator of the universe.
  • Omnipotent - having the power to do anything logically conceivable
  • Omniscient - knowing everything conceivably knowable
  • Omnibenevolent - characterized by perfect and complete goodness, loving and caring for all creatures, abhorring evil actions
  • Suffering - the experience of physical or emotional pain in a creature that can register pain. This is at least human beings, and may include all vertebrates.
  • Evil (noun) - including but not limited to the knowing creation of unnecessary suffering

Let X be the maximum amount of good that can be created through any and all means. Phil can create X without any suffering because Phil is omnipotent.* Being omniscient, Phil knows how to do this. For Phil to create suffering would be unnecessary, and thus evil. Therefore, nothing Phil creates will contain suffering. Since there is suffering in the universe, Phil did not create the universe. That is a contradiction with Phil's definition, so Phil must not exist.

*If you wish to argue that Phil cannot create X without creating suffering, you are saying that Phil is not omnipotent. Perhaps in this universe, certain goods cannot come without suffering, but Phil is not limited by what is possible in this or any universe.

I think this is further complicated by not defining Good or Evil (more then you did). Christianity basically defines good as whatever God defines as good. So Phil would be the one who would need to define this, but since Phil doesn't have any book to look at, you need to define this.  You also need to deal with the fact that maybe Phil offered humans a choice. Do this action and you will suffer or do not do this action and you will be happy for eternity. You've denied the fact that God did make a perfect place and that humans would stay in that perfect place until they did some action they were told not to do. Perhaps Phil didn't do this, but God did.


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God knows...

wavefreak wrote:
Only quibbles with the defintions.

Can you suggest definitions you would accept?

simple theist wrote:

You also need to deal with the fact that maybe Phil offered humans a choice. Do this action and you will suffer or do not do this action and you will be happy for eternity. You've denied the fact that God did make a perfect place and that humans would stay in that perfect place until they did some action they were told not to do. Perhaps Phil didn't do this, but God did.

Imagine a woman called Judy with two sons, Stan and Adam. Stan is fully grown and estranged from the family. Adam is 4 years old and spends all of his time in the nursery. One day Judy puts a cookie in the nursery and tells Adam not to eat it. Adam has lots of other snacks to eat, so he leaves the cookie alone. Judy goes into the living room to watch her soap operas. Mid way though As the World Turns, Judy hears Stan come into the house. She’s kicked him out, and she could get him to leave, but she doesn’t bother. She hears Stan go into the nursery. She hears Stan telling Adam to eat the cookie. Adam doesn’t know Stan, but Stan is an adult right here telling him to eat the cookie. Adam’s willpower crumbles under Stan’s pressure, and he eats the cookie. Judy continues watching her soaps, and Stan leaves. When her soaps are over, Judy goes into the nursery. She sees that Stan fed Adam the cookie, and on questioning Adam admits to what happened. Judy flies into a rage, tearing the place apart. Then she sends Adam to the orphanage because he doesn‘t deserve to live with her anymore.

This is unacceptable parenting when it is done by a human. If a human could do better, a wise and loving god would do better.

Abrahamic theists believe that free will hasn't created suffering in heaven. If Phil wanted to make beings with free will without making suffering, Phil could do it. See the Proof II part 3 from the original blog post for details.


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Here's one of my favorite

Here's one of my favorite logical proofs:

1. The creation of the world is the most marvelous achievement imaginable.
2. The merit of an achievement is the product of (a) its intrinsic quality, and (b) the ability of its creator.
3. The greater the disability (or handicap) of the creator, the more impressive the achievement.
4. The most formidable handicap for a creator would be non-existence.
5. Therefore if we suppose that the universe is the product of and existent creator we can conceive a greater being - namely, one who created everything while not existing.
6. An existing God therefore would not be a being greater than which a greater cannot be conceived because an even more formidable and incredible creator would be a God which did not exist.
Ergo:
7. God does not exist.
 


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Debauchrist wrote: Here's

Debauchrist wrote:

Here's one of my favorite logical proofs:

1. The creation of the world is the most marvelous achievement imaginable.
2. The merit of an achievement is the product of (a) its intrinsic quality, and (b) the ability of its creator.
3. The greater the disability (or handicap) of the creator, the more impressive the achievement.
4. The most formidable handicap for a creator would be non-existence.
5. Therefore if we suppose that the universe is the product of and existent creator we can conceive a greater being - namely, one who created everything while not existing.
6. An existing God therefore would not be a being greater than which a greater cannot be conceived because an even more formidable and incredible creator would be a God which did not exist.
Ergo:
7. God does not exist.

 

It does not follow that a "disabled" god would still be able to create the universe. If the disabled god is still able to create the same universe then where is the disability? 


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Debauchrist's proof

I don't think we're meant to take Debauchrist's proof seriously. It's a comical counter to the ontological arugment for God's existance:

  1. God is a being that nothing greater can be concieved of.
  2. Existing is greater than not existing.
  3. Therefore, God exists.

Clearly, though, this is no more a proof than the one given by Debauchrist.


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jackal wrote: I don't

jackal wrote:

I don't think we're meant to take Debauchrist's proof seriously. It's a comical counter to the ontological arugment for God's existance:

  1. God is a being that nothing greater can be concieved of.
  2. Existing is greater than not existing.
  3. Therefore, God exists.

Clearly, though, this is no more a proof than the one given by Debauchrist.

Yeah, I take it as a reductio ad absurdum argument. Since the same logic was used to prove a contradictory result, then they're both absurdities. My comical argument doesn't disprove God, it just proves that the logic used in the ontological argument is absurd. Still, it's my favorite logical argumentSmiling 


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Debauchrist wrote: Yeah, I

Debauchrist wrote:

Yeah, I take it as a reductio ad absurdum argument. Since the same logic was used to prove a contradictory result, then they're both absurdities. My comical argument doesn't disprove God, it just proves that the logic used in the ontological argument is absurd. Still, it's my favorite logical argumentSmiling

Hell. Half the time I can't tell who is serious and who isn't. If I had posted something like that I would have been nuked for my stupidity.  


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wavefreak

wavefreak wrote:
Debauchrist wrote:

Yeah, I take it as a reductio ad absurdum argument. Since the same logic was used to prove a contradictory result, then they're both absurdities. My comical argument doesn't disprove God, it just proves that the logic used in the ontological argument is absurd. Still, it's my favorite logical argumentSmiling

Hell. Half the time I can't tell who is serious and who isn't. If I had posted something like that I would have been nuked for my stupidity.

Well, if you posted the ontological argument, you'd be nuked for your stupidity. However, anyone who has read The God Delusion has seen the argument I posted. It's an argument to point out the absurdity of another argument.


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wavefreak wrote: jackal

wavefreak wrote:
jackal wrote:
  • omnipotent
  • ominicient
  • omnibenevolent
  • creator of the universe

 

I dont like the concepts of a traditional Abrahamic god. I redefine the above words as:

Omnipotent: able to do what is possible

Omniscient: knows what is knowable

Neither of the above are bound by human limits.

Omnibenevolent: Discarded. This is a projection of human ideas. An entity capable of doing all possible things from a base of all that is knowable could decide that humanity is a scourge and that the most benevolent act would be to eliminate us.

Creator of the Universe: If creation of universes is within the scope of the knowable and possible, then yes.

 

note: There may be better words for the above definitions

In trying to get rid of theistic anthropomorphisms, you have only managed to keep them. The kind of god you describe is precisely a maximally super person.

As your say you're a heretical theist, would you then agree that this god is of no more value as a sentient being than any of us humans, that its superiority over us is strictly a matter of the quantity of ability it has, that this being is not to be worshipped and indeed should be treated as no more or less than an equal, is not particularly interested in what we do, and may be good or evil or indifferent or all three?


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kmisho wrote:

kmisho wrote:

In trying to get rid of theistic anthropomorphisms, you have only managed to keep them. The kind of god you describe is precisely a maximally super person.

As your say you're a heretical theist, would you then agree that this god is of no more value as a sentient being than any of us humans, that its superiority over us is strictly a matter of the quantity of ability it has, that this being is not to be worshipped and indeed should be treated as no more or less than an equal, is not particularly interested in what we do, and may be good or evil or indifferent or all three?

I'm not sure what a maximally super person is. The definitions given imply knowledge and abilites which would be unobtainable by humans. This entity would not be a person, in any human way. And the definitions are not an attempt to discard anthropomorphisms. All I *have* is a human perspective. What else can I offer but athropomorhpisms? These definitions are to only eliminate the logical absurdities that arise when invoking infinite knowledge and power.

The value of this entity is hard to place. Are we more valuable than a chimpanzee? A dolphin? A lemur, cat, dog, mouse, ameoba? As a race we regularly place our "value" on the top of the heap among known species. Wouldn't such a "super being" be of far more value than us?

The concept of worship is flawed in my mind. God certainly does not need me to stand around with my hands in the air singing about his/her greatness. Such an entity's awareness would encompass such a fact.

Such an entity could conceivably be good, evil or indifferent. It would seem hubris to assume we are its equal.

[MOD EDIT - fixed quotes] 


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wavefreak wrote: I'm not

wavefreak wrote:
I'm not sure what a maximally super person is. The definitions given imply knowledge and abilites which would be unobtainable by humans.

I disagree. If it can be known, we could in principle come to know it. 

Quote:
This entity would not be a person, in any human way.  And the definitions are not an attempt to discard anthropomorphisms. All I *have* is a human perspective. What else can I offer but athropomorhpisms? These definitions are to only eliminate the logical absurdities that arise when invoking infinite knowledge and power.

The reason I used the word "person" is because I am not talking about humans. I am ferring to sentient, self-aware, beings. As I think of a person, not a human, the kind of god you're talking about is a person.

Quote:
The value of this entity is hard to place. Are we more valuable than a chimpanzee? A dolphin? A lemur, cat, dog, mouse, ameoba? As a race we regularly place our "value" on the top of the heap among known species. Wouldn't such a "super being" be of far more value than us?
I meant value in terms of "human"rights, but it's better to say "person" rights. This god you desribe owes me as much respect as I owe it, as we are both people. 

Quote:
The concept of worship is flawed in my mind. God certainly does not need me to stand around with my hands in the air singing about his/her greatness. Such an entity's awareness would encompass such a fact.
I have to agree there, but maybe for different reasons. I am looking at it from my perspective rather than from "his". I am against the principle of worship as inherently degrading.

Quote:
Such an entity could conceivably be good, evil or indifferent. It would seem hubris to assume we are its equal. 
Equal in terms of what we owe it relative to what it owes us, i.e. precisely nothing.

I could translate the above to read "It would seem the height of hubris to assume our noses are the equal of a dog's nose." I don't disagree with this. But the point here is that we are better than dogs at some things and they are better than us at others. This is not a reflection of the "value" of either one but merely an assessment of ability. If this god of yours is merely more able then me, this does not in itself imply it is of more value.


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kmisho wrote: I disagree.

kmisho wrote:

I disagree. If it can be known, we could in principle come to know it.

We will have to agree to disagree for I believe that, in principle, humanity's capacity for knowledge is finite and that the sum total of what is knowable exceeds that capacity.

Quote:
The reason I used the word "person" is because I am not talking about humans. I am ferring to sentient, self-aware, beings. As I think of a person, not a human, the kind of god you're talking about is a person.

 

OK. Person then.

Quote:

I meant value in terms of "human"rights, but it's better to say "person" rights. This god you desribe owes me as much respect as I owe it, as we are both people.

 

I'm not sure I can agree on this, but I understand your position. Do we offer the same level of respect to a chimpanzee? Or a mouse? Since both are used in scientific reasearch considered unethical for humans, a consensus would seem to think otherwise. Would an entity so far above us as we are to a mouse be compelled to respect us as equals?

 

Quote:

I have to agree there, but maybe for different reasons. I am looking at it from my perspective rather than from "his". I am against the principle of worship as inherently degrading.

Interestingly, there are biblical references that suggest groveling before god is displeasing to him/her. I think present day worship is a perversion of whatever it should be.

Quote:

Equal in terms of what we owe it relative to what it owes us, i.e. precisely nothing.

I could translate the above to read "It would seem the height of hubris to assume our noses are the equal of a dog's nose." I don't disagree with this. But the point here is that we are better than dogs at some things and they are better than us at others. This is not a reflection of the "value" of either one but merely an assessment of ability. If this god of yours is merely more able then me, this does not in itself imply it is of more value.

 

I think the concept of value has a lot of pitfalls. The domestic dog owes us alot. It would not fare well without us. It is not an equal partnership. We could easily to an entire thread on just this. And "more able" seems relative. I think we would interact differently with an entity that is marginally beyond us as opposed to one that is exponentially beyond us.


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god - I - dog

wavefreak wrote:

kmisho wrote:

Equal in terms of what we owe it relative to what it owes us, i.e. precisely nothing.

I could translate the above to read "It would seem the height of hubris to assume our noses are the equal of a dog's nose." I don't disagree with this. But the point here is that we are better than dogs at some things and they are better than us at others. This is not a reflection of the "value" of either one but merely an assessment of ability. If this god of yours is merely more able then me, this does not in itself imply it is of more value.

I think the concept of value has a lot of pitfalls. The domestic dog owes us alot. It would not fare well without us. It is not an equal partnership. We could easily to an entire thread on just this. And "more able" seems relative. I think we would interact differently with an entity that is marginally beyond us as opposed to one that is exponentially beyond us.

The domestic dog owes us only to be itself. We humans, being responsible for it coming to existence (not "fixing" its parents), are completely responsible for its wellbeing for its entire life. That said, we are in our full right to mold its personality/behavior through positive and negative reinforcement. Interestingly, everything i've heard recently suggests that you should focus on rewarding good behavior instead of punishing bad behavior, and physical punishment should never happen. If God had used this reward-only theory in raising humans - no pestilence, no plagues, not striking down of the first born - we'd be better off.